Whenever you first join BBYO, you can feel immersed in the community through people sharing their experiences, I thought that hearing about CLTC was especially impactful. When I was a freshman, hearing all of these upperclassmen who I looked up to talk about how amazing their experience was, made me want to go to CLTCwell. However, I was still hesitant because the thought of leaving home for 12 days frightened me. As time went on, many people texted me about how I would truly love the experience and that it would be the best 12 days of my life. Eventually, I got the guts and signed up.
In the months leading up to CLTC, my anxiety grew stronger thinking about how I was only one of three people from my region attending CLTC 5, one of which I didn’t even know. The more I thought about leaving for 12 days so soon, the more I found myself wrapped up in the negative. My main concern being I would have no friends there.
As soon as I stepped off of the plane into the Milwaukee airport, my anxiety immediately lessened as I found something that I was not expecting: people were excited to meet me.
As I settled into my cabin with four strangers, I strangely felt a sense of belonging. Minutes turned into days, and the entire 12 days were over before I knew it. I experienced some of the best moments I’ve ever had in BBYO, and my experiences made me excited to be a leader. CLTC taught me things about myself that I never would have known and made me a more outgoing person. I grew a new appreciation for Judaism and Israel in a way that was different to just simply praying during services. I met the best people in the world who became some of my best friends very quickly.
I soon realized that pushing past my fear of being away from home for 12 days was the best decision, and I am forever grateful for that experience.
Gabi Mitchell is a BBG from North Texas Oklahoma and has four siblings.
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